“What are you looking at?” the man screamed from across the parking lot. “Yeah? What the fuck are you looking at, asshole?”

“Do you think he’s talking to me?” I asked my wife who, like me, was stepping into our car.

The man with the long blonde hair and dark beard threw down his keys and started marching toward us. I looked over at my wife, then behind me, then back at Lynyrd Skynrd who was only a few feet away now. I stepped around the car door. “Hi. Can I help you?”

He reared back a meaty fist and the next thing I saw was my wife kneeling above me. “It’s ok honey, the ambulance is on its way.” She said through a fake smile.

I heard a siren. A new face appeared. A stranger. Then another.

I tried to sit up, “No!” they sang in a chorus.

What the fuck? I held my hand to my nose. It wasn’t there.


I woke again. There was an IV drip with a hose attached. I tried to sit up, but my head was immobile. As were my hands. And feet. I was strapped down. I tried to yell, but was unable–as there was also something in my throat.

I was completely awake now. There was pain from my chest up. I began breathing heavily. Another attempted scream. An electronic gadget started beeping somewhere near me. The door burst open. Two young people, one male and one female, were now standing above me. The woman shined a light into my left eye. Then my right. The man was busy checking connections.

“Is he ok?” I heard my wife ask from somewhere.

“Get her the hell OUT of here!” The male screamed. The female disappeared.

“Mrs. Lunas, everything’s going to be f…” the voice faded.

“Cecil! -” I heard my wife shout.

The male turned back to me smiling. “Mr. Lunas, hi. Can you feel this?”

I then felt something like warm mercury enter my left arm.



Jim Mitchem

High-Strung Sonofabitch

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.